Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stretches for Cyclists

Hello and welcome my friends,

In the pursuit to become a stronger, leaner, faster athlete, I think alot of us, myself included, need to be reminded the importance and value of incorporating a good stretching routine after your workout.  The following is a great acticle from  I noticed that by remembering to perform these exercises after any workout will help keep me limber and will definitely flush out the lactic acid in my muscles to reduce soreness and muscle fatigue while improving your pedal stroke by improving your flexibility in the saddle.  The increased flexibility has helped me stay in the drops for longer periods of time which come in handy when riding with a headwind and the need to get aero is better than sitting upright like a mainsail catching the wind and making your forward progression that much harder. 

Stretches for Cyclists
Increase your flexibility—and improve your cycling—with these stretches.
ByJoe Lindsey

These yoga poses, though they're also strength moves, will double as stretches to warm up. You'll need a soft surface or yoga mat, a foam support block, and a strap or latex resistance band. Hold each pose for five to 10 breaths (about 30 seconds), remembering to breathe through your nose. After you reach the proper position, says Farmar, concentrate on improving it with each inhalation--flatten your back a little more, stretch your hamstrings a tiny bit farther.

1. Downward-facing dog

Start on hands and knees. Lift hips into an upside-down V-shape, keeping palms on the floor. "Bend your knees if necessary," says Farmar. "Don't focus on putting your heels on the ground, but rather on flattening your back."

Works: Lengthens back muscles and hamstrings, for more power on the pedal backstroke

2. Thunderbolt pose 

From downward dog, walk your feet to your hands and then squat as if you're sitting in a chair. "The tendency here is to have a big 'C' curve in your back," says Farmar. "But you want to engage your core, so pull your belly up and in, and flatten your back." Reach your arms up over your head and roll your shoulders back and down to open your chest.

Works: Glutes, quads, hamstrings and lower back; also helps open chest for better breathing

3. Crescent Lunge

Step one foot forward into a lunge position, arms still raised. Focus on keeping the heel of your back foot as close to the floor as possible and your back leg as straight as possible, and keeping your shoulders aligned over your pelvis. Never push your front knee past your toes, or you'll put undue stress on the joint. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then switch.

Works: Hip flexors, quads, hamstrings

4. Half-pigeon
From the crescent lunge, lower yourself to the floor with your forward leg crossed in front of you, rear leg straight out behind. Unless you're ridiculously flexible, use a block under your hip for this pose. Don't worry about how low you go--the important thing is to keep your hips level, without letting one sink to one side. Fold forward, if possible. Hold five to 10 breaths, then switch legs.

Works: Hips. "This leads to less hip rock and less knee rotation while pedaling," says Farmar, so your pedal stroke is more efficient.

5. Bridge

Lie on your back, knees bent with feet planted close to your butt, arms by your sides. Exhale and lift your pelvis up in line with your knees and your sternum toward your chin, keeping shoulder blades and head flat on the floor. Join your hands underneath you. NOTE: Never turn your head in this pose. If you have a back or neck injury, skip this exercise or do it with extra care, and place a folded towel under your shoulders at the base of your neck.

Works: Glutes and abdominals; helps strengthen your back and open your chest to make your reach to the handlebar more comfortable

6. Recline hands-to-toes pose

Lie on your back and, using a strap looped under one foot, lift that leg up in the air, leaving the other leg flat on the ground. Don't worry about keeping the raised leg perfectly straight if you're not flexible, but do try to pull your heel past your hip. As you hold the stretch, point your toes to the sky and then flex your foot so your heel points skyward. Do this several times; switch legs after five to 10 breaths.

Works: Hamstrings

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tee Shirt Tuesday 04-17-12

Another Tuesday and another set of tees to view courtesy of

Evolution Of Bike Black T-Shirt
Evolution Tee

cyclist down T-Shirt
Man Down Tee

"Respect The Bike" T-Shirt
Respect the Bike Tee

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tri-County Ride-know your limits and when to push them

Good Day my friends, I had the opportunity to meet up with John, a fella I met during the Magnolia Miles event some weeks ago and he brought another friend, Morné, to join us on a ride this past weekend.  Morné originates from South Africa, which I thought was pretty cool and we hit it off immediately.  Morné is what John called a skinny rider, which spells doom and suffering for us heavier set guys as he kept us pushing our limits just to keep in pace.  To be good at anything, you really need someone better than you to push beyond your comfort zone and give your muscles a quick (and sometimes severe) wake up call.
Half-way through the ride, John decided he was going to attack at every climb while calling us a bunch of pansies (or some other expletive that was a direct attack on our manliness).  John threw down the gauntlet and Morné happily accepted the challenge as he exploded off the line, tucked into John's slipstream for a few pedal stokes and powered ahead to win the sprint to the top. 

What is it about the male species that we constantly test each others machismo by calling each other a derogatory name?  It's all in fun, but it never fails to bring laughs and challenges as we attempt to keep our dignity and pride in what boils down to a name calling contest.  Alas, I too fell into the trap and attempted to battle it out after John took off at the bottom of a short steep climb followed by Morné.  I'm no climber, but I thought, "Let's see what I can do!", so I shifted gears and hammered on the pedals.  I remember looking at my bike computer and seeing 27.5 mph (HOLY SMOKES! THIS IS FAST & IT'S UPHILL!).  I was feeling strong, even as my legs were screaming at me to stop pedaling.  I looked up expecting to be close to the attack.  I was dead wrong.  I saw Morné passing John to the top of the climb about 20-30 yards ahead of me.  It was amazing to see them battle it out like that!  It went on like this for at least 5 or 6 climbs with me bringing up the rear.  I tried to match the attacks and speeds these guys were hammering out just to keep competitive (this came back to bite me in the arse).

Summer 2011 Wildfire

We were at the 45 mile mark when we headed back to with 22 miles to go.  I took my turn at the front and set the same pace as John and Morné had with the wind in our faces.  I made it 4-5 miles before I had to peel off and make an attempt to recover.  From mile 50 to the end of the ride I was bringing up the rear trying to keep my pedals turning.  I was cooked, suffering and trying to keep up.  It was then that I kept thinking about how I should have conserved my energy early on so I had enough in the tank for the end.  Thankfully, it was a no-drop ride and the guys were sticking with me and encouraging me to keep pedaling.  There were still the occasional attacks that I was unable to match, but they were kind enough to keep it short so I could catch up.

Summer 2011 Wildfire
These types of rides reinforce the need to know your limits and how to plan your workout.  It's not just about finishing, but finishing strong and having a great support group to keep you moving when your mind and body want to stop.  I'm thankful for the group I was with and the lessons learned.  After a few days of reflection, I've come to the conclusion that a S.W.O.T. Analysis would be a great tool by laying out a plan of action to sharpen your current skills and develop and identify areas for improvement.  For those not familiar with the strategic planning method, a S.W.O.T Analysis identifies your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Think about where your fitness goals fit into these four areas and where/what are the areas that you need to work on.  S and W are simple enough, but the Opportunity could be something along the lines of making better use of your time in order to have a more effective workout and the Threat could be allowing your stomach to dictate your next meal by not making healthy food decisions, especially right after a workout. 

Post a comment or send an email and we can share our experiences and grow our support group as we fight on to be stronger, leaner athletes. 

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

T-shirt Tuesday

Another week has come and gone and it's time for another addition of T-shirt Tuesday!  Enjoy

Burn Fat Not Fuel

Fall 7 Times Tee

Shut up and Ride

The following and more are available at Headline Shirts.

California Flag T-Shirt
California Flag

I Heart SF T-Shirt
I Heart SF

Sasquatch Cyclist T-Shirt
Sasquatch Cyclist

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Awkward Runners

Running styles to avoid!!

I thought I would throw in some humor to help get over those days when you don't feel motivated or encouraged to get out there and put your best foot forward. Be the best you can be and have fun doing it.

Until the next time,
Keep youmind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

T-Shirt Tuesday-USA Pro Cycling Challenge

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge 60 Miles Per Hour Tee - Charcoal - Click to enlarge
60 Miles Per Hour

Another week has come and gone and it's time for T-Shirt Tuesday for your viewing & sharing pleasure.  Enjoy!

These shirts are from the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge that took place in Colorado last August.   

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Womens Peace Love Ride Tee - White - Click to enlarge
Peace Love Ride

Check back for more shirts next Tuesday and if you find a cycling related tee that you'd like to share, let me know and I'll post it.

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard